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Mind Zero, Vita

Some devs played Persona and thought, "We can do that!" They couldn't. I know "clone" and similar words get thrown about a lot, but this RPG--featuring a group of modern-day Japanese teens who form contracts with demons to fight for them--is pretty transparent. And it's not just the general premise; the game plays out exactly like the first Persona game, with its (essentially) menu-based overworld and FPS dungeon crawling, and the similarity goes all the way down to the individual characters; for example, there are a pair of police officers, and if you want to try to tell me they aren't Adachi and Dojima under different names ... I mean, I'll listen to your arguments I guess.

But the thing is, I don't care if a game innovates or is original; those are just buzzwords. I read mystery novels, for heavens sake, and everyone knows that Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe was inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle's Mycroft Holmes, and that Edmund Crispin's Gervase Fen is basically just John Dickson Carr's Gideon Fell, who is himself based on real-life author G. K. Chesterton, who wrote the Father Brown mysteries. So what? The problem is, Mind Zero isn't terribly good. Most of the actual gameplay takes place in the first person as you explore lengthy, winding mazes. Well heck, I liked Might and Magic. But whereas Might and Magic had actual puzzles, messages on the wall that you had to keep track of, mysterious pools that can hurt or help you, etc, etc, Mind Zero has ... lengthy, windy mazes. No puzzles, no interesting level design, no interesting features. Just wandering around dozens of perfectly interchangeable, dull, mazes that could have been ripped out of a children's book of puzzles. "Help irritating anime protagonist reach the irritating anime badguy!" the directions would read. And yes, it's ripping off the first Persona game, but for heaven's sake there's a reason the series went another direction.

The plot starts out interesting but deteriorates. The combat isn't interesting or strategic, but enemies are damage sponges, so expect to spend a lot of time at it. The characters are widely-drawn anime stereotypes, which, OK, let's be fair, is true for a lot of the Persona protagonists too, especially in the first game. The skill system is potentially interesting, but is designed in a way to make the characters basically interchangable. The ending resolves nothing, and is presumably supposed to set up a sequel.

I didn't like it, is where I'm going with all of this.

Super Mario Land, Gameboy/emulator

Well this is a blast from my childhood. I know I played a lot of it, but I don't remember that I ever beat it, so when my brother reminded me of its existence, I decided to see if I could finally cross it off my backlog. To which the answer is yes, I could. If I didn't beat this game as a kid, I must have been quite abnormally bad at it; there are only four worlds of three levels each, and although there's no saving, and a game over sends you back to the beginning, I got to the fourth world my first attempt and beat it the next. Short and easy. I think if I'd beaten it so easily as a child, I would perhaps have felt quite ripped off (or rather, my parents would have, since it was a gift). As an adult, I thought it was a pleasant diversion.
Post edited July 08, 2016 by BadDecissions
Technobabylon is another pretty cool Wadjet Eye game. Cyberpunk theme with three protagonists you control in a specific sequence until the end when you're allowed to choose among them freely. The main guy is a middle-aged cop/scientist (in the future, cops will be called Dr.) whose wife was murdered by a colleague and now the murderer is out on parole. Meanwhile, the guy and his partner are running an investigation into a guy who's going around sucking the minds out of people's bodies. Meanwhile meanwhile there's a poor teenaged girl who's addicted to virtual reality (called "Trance addict"), whose apartment is blown up. The story is well-told and comes together well enough by the end. The puzzles are mostly not very challenging and follow the modern way of being internally consistent and demanding good observational skills (i.e., no Babel fish or fake mustache puzzles here).

The characters are mostly an interesting bunch but I can't say I ever quite warmed up to the old guy. It sounds mean but something about his voice grated on me. Plus, he's supposed to be from Texas but he said "y'all" (i.e., "you all") even when he was speaking to a single person, which is something that only idiots and (more commonly) yankees trying to "get with the lingo" do :p
Tomb Raider: Underworld

The sequel to Tomb Raider: Legend and the 2nd Tomb Raider I've ever played (First being Legend). Compared to the prequel this game is terrible. For the first few hours I had to force myself to keep going on in the hope it would get better as it went on (Fortunately it did). Combat has been changed from mostly fighting mercenaries to mostly fighting endangered species and Zombies, not that this is a problem but they removed Boss Fights from this game in favour of more parkour and climbing. One cool thing is a hint feature you can get, which gives you a hint if your stuck in a certain situation, but those situations are usually not being able to find a certain object and the hint simply says "It seems I need a certain object here", they also have a Sonar Map, which I couldn't read and didn't display any useful information on it. Now the biggest problem with the game was the glitches, falling through walls, surviving a 50ft drop and then being stuck in a ravine, getting a motorbike stuck halfway up a cliff (I had to reset because of that one). The game really gets better once you unlock a weapon that lets you fire any enemy up into the air and ragdoll them, the hilarity of it took my mind off it, the final level is also done quite well but did prove slightly challenging. Story is... meh, it also requires you to have played the last two games prior to this one to understand most of it. I wouldn't recommend this game.
Double Dragon

The trilogy was on sale the other day and it was only 99p. In hind sight I probably should've read the instructions first as I didn't know about combo's until I'd reached the last level, which probably explains why I found it so difficult. Though those sliding bricks in the last level are one of the most annoying things I'd ever faced in a game.
Finished my PS3 Platinum run for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. I am really happy, that it is already over... It is prime example of game, where if you do not know how to make game last longer, you put in MMO-like quests and make it even worse.

Well still, I had to put in 127 hours, so the game is not that bad, but the idea where you "level up" only with completing the quests, is still not very compelling...

Currently at 12 Platinums. Next game either Atelier Rorona or Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory. Or something completely different, because I am somehow not much in the mood of gaming in last few weeks.

List of games finished in 2016
Post edited July 09, 2016 by MMLN
Just beat Sonic CD. I got the bad ending, but I suck at playing Sonic games, so just clearing the game is a big accomplishment for me.
Tomb Raider Underworld
Just finished Splinter Cell: Blacklist, thus completing the entire Splinter Cell series which I began in May. An incredible stealth-action series.
My order of the six games from best to worst: Chaos Theory, Blacklist, Splinter Cell, Double Agent, Pandora Tomorrow, Conviction
Showing Tonight: Mindhunters Incident

A decent HOG with some glaring flaws. Some puzzles had no direction that I could find, and one of them I had to use a guide because brute forcing it was not an option. The story is a mess, but that can be forgiven when you take the context into account.
<span class="bold">Borderlands: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx</span>

Borderlands: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx is the largest DLC for Borderlands, it has a lot of new features:
- story mode, with a total of 44 new missions
- increased level cap by 11 levels; increased backpack capacity
- new gear: weapons, shields, class mods, grenade mods; new areas; new enemies; three new vehicles: the Monster, the Racer, and the Lancer; new larger Crimson Lance Chests; secret bosses

Complete list of games finished in 2016.
Doom 2016 (PC)

Just finished this bad boy last night. The final parts of it are very challenging, but if you save power ups/certain gun types for certain types of demons, it's not nearly as hard.

This game had me shaking from adrenaline when I finished it. It was really really good. The story was enough to keep me interested, though some say it's a weak story. I mean, it's an fps based off something that came out in the 90's so... yeah.

I have some screenshots of it in the screenshot thread if you want to see what it looks like on medium/high settings. Other than that, it's steam exclusive on PC, so I know a lot of you probably aren't interested.

Definitely one of the better games I've played. I think I already posted last month I beat Alan Wake - the story in that game, obviously, was much stronger. All in all I'm 3 for 3 in recent game completions in terms of enjoying the overall experience.

If you like old school shooters, you'll like Doom. It's like Doom 1, Unreal Tournament 2k4, and Painkiller had a sweet, sweet love child.
<span class="bold">Borderlands: Claptrap's Robot Revolution</span>

Borderlands: Claptrap's Robot Revolution is a short experience with the following new features:
- story mode, with a total of 21 new missions
- 2 additional skill points; 6 additional backpack slots
- new areas; new enemies; novelty items such as: 3D glasses, oil cans and pink panties

Complete list of games finished in 2016.
Thiefer: Just finished Splinter Cell: Blacklist, thus completing the entire Splinter Cell series which I began in May. An incredible stealth-action series.
My order of the six games from best to worst: Chaos Theory, Blacklist, Splinter Cell, Double Agent, Pandora Tomorrow, Conviction
Just finished Chaos Theory the other day and I have to agree, playing Double Agent atm and I'm not really enjoying it.
high rated
Tomb Raider 2013 (Action-adventure)

Options are many and include: Subtitles (NOT the default), separate sliders for various sounds & music, button hints (ie. hit 'B' to scramble), sensitivity, resolution up to 1920x1080, brightness, video quality, etc. Mouse & keyboard buttons can be re-mapped. Originally I only had the keyboard and mouse, but this time I'm playing with my X-box 360 controller. While most of the gameplay is much easier, I have trouble with precision-aiming using the controller. This has meant a change in my gaming style, as I simply can't pull off the insta-kill headshots I generally go for with bow and arrow. Helloooo assault rifle! XD

Until Tomb Raider 2013, I had never played an action-adventure. This is the game that started it all for me; my gateway drug, as it were. When I first discovered Tomb Raider, I was so enthralled by the game that I played it three times back-to-back, and only stopped because my backlog was crying. Almost two years later, this is my fourth play-through, and I'm finally writing a review (although anyone who knows me knows how much I love this game.)

I need to preface this review by saying that I've yet to play any of the other TR games, so I do not have the prejudice of having played Lara prior to this. There is, apparently, less puzzle-solving and more combat, but there is much more to this game than killing. I chose the Normal mode of play, but I also played with several DLC's that make the game a bit easier, so keep that in mind.

The first thing I noticed were the gorgeous graphics. There are tiny details everywhere, from incidental carvings that you'll only see for a moment, to the way Lara shivers in the cold, or the way her arms shake with exertion when she lifts something heavy. The cutscenes are beautifully-directed, and add much to the story. I can tell you that I spent a lot of time just taking screens and exploring the lush environments. The voices, music, and sound effects are superb, and every aspect of this game -- from the tiniest rock to magnificent explosion -- weaves together to form a stunning and vibrant tapestry. I'm sure it won't surprise you to hear that I've taken over 265 screens. EVERYTHING is beautiful, even the ugly things.

Gameplay is multi-faceted, and you can tailor it to your preferred style. Want to face your enemies head-on, Rambo-style? You can do that! Prefer to explore and learn everything about this island and its inhabitants? You can do that, too! My personal preference is option #2 with a healthy dose of I-Am-The-Night stealth and silently removing enemies before they know I'm there.

'Animal Instinct' is your friend, as it will not only show you which direction you should be going if you get lost, but it will also show you things such as collectibles, enemies, ammo, and animals. It does so by making the world around you black and white, and making interactibles glow yellow or red. The beauty of the Animal Instinct function is that the game is definitely easier when enemies are lit up like a beacon, and harder when you don't use it, so using it or not will affect the level of difficulty. Believe me, though, it's well-nigh impossible to get 100% on this game without using Animal Instinct to see what you can interact with!

Collectibles are many, ranging from relics, treasure maps, and journals to area-specific quests blowing up old sea mines. I am a completionist, and one who loves finding every last scrap of story and information in a game, but there is an incentive to find everything possible, even for the Rambo-types... Experience and Salvage.

Experience nets you Skill Points, which are used to upgrade Skills: Survivor, Hunter, and Brawler. I won't bore you with the list of possible upgrades, but here's an example of each: Increased Exp when looting, Increased ammo capacity, Dodge skills

Salvage allows you upgrade your various weapons: Bow, Pistol, Rifle, and Shotgun. You'll even find weapon parts if you look hard enough, which increases the power of your weapons even more!

The treasure maps will show all of the items that will get you to 100% completion on the game, but do NOT show quest items, ammo, orange plants, or salvage, all of which will also add to your Exp & Salvage totals. Another great way to earn both is by hunting and looting, especially if you go for those headshots I mentioned earlier. (Bonus experience; ka-CHING!)

Want those treasure maps? The secret tombs are where you'll find them. These tombs are pretty hard to miss, since you'll hear a chime play whenever you get close to them. Raiding a tomb consists of puzzling out how to get to the payoff (large chest, ho!), and generally take about 10 minutes each to complete. They're a great addition to the game, and the experience bonus is a GREAT incentive to go exploring!

Throughout your travels you'll find campfires, which serve as extra saves points (the game auto-saves), and will also allow you to apply the skill points you've earned and spend your salvage on upgrades. They also serve as "fast travel" points, and will allow you to transport to different areas of the map instantly. Be aware that fast travel is not always available, depending on where you are in the story.

There are intermittent Quicktime Events that will require you to... well, to survive. lol~ If you're dexterity-challenged such as myself, I recommend sticking with it -- Tomb Raider is absolutely worth the many times you'll end up dying. ;)

There are 50 achievements available, 15 of which are for multi-player
Extras include Concept Art (too many to count!) and 18 Character Models

In closing, to me Tomb Raider 2013 is well-nigh the perfect game, blending all of my favorite elements with a hefty dose of knuckle-whitening action, and leaving me with nothing but a feeling of total satisfaction. Even a long period of seemingly never-ending battles was well-balanced with the rest of the game, since it was so important to the storyline at that moment. I cannot stress enough how good this game is, so what are you waiting for? PLAY IT NOW!!

Full list of games finished HERE
Post edited July 20, 2016 by genkicolleen
Blackwell Legacy

Short game, but fun and a good reintroduction to the adventure genre for me. I didn't know if I'd like it, but it turned out to be decent.

That makes my list for the year so far as follows:

Alan Wake
Alan Wake: American Nightmare
The Blackwell Legacy

Slowly but surely I'm starting to finish some of my backlog. It's weird, the feeling I used to get from buying games when I had a lot of extra money, I now get from completing the games I bought over the past 6-10 years and haven't finished yet.